Your discharge from the hospital
Be sure to meet with the hospital’s discharge planner early in your stay to ensure a smooth discharge process later on. The first step is to know who will be involved in your discharge process. This starts with the hospital’s discharge planner, who may be a nurse, case manager or social worker, or may have some other title. When it’s time to be released from the hospital, your physician will authorize a hospital discharge. But before you can leave the hospital, there are several things that you or your representative must attend to.
Have the following information before you leave the hospital:
- Discharge summary. This is an overview of why you were in the hospital, which healthcare professionals saw you, what procedures were done, and what medications were prescribed. You or your representative may request a discharge planning evaluation.
- Medications list. This is a listing of what medications you are taking, why, in what dosage, and who prescribed them. Having a list prepared by the hospital is a good way to double-check the information you should already have been keeping track of.
- Prescriptions. A prescription for any medications you need. Be sure to fill your prescriptions promptly so you don’t run out of needed medications.
- Follow-up care instructions. Make sure you have paperwork that tells you:
- What, if any, dietary restrictions you need to follow and for how long
- What kinds of activities you can and can’t do, and for how long
- How to properly care for any injury or incisions you have
- What follow-up tests you may need and when you need to schedule them
- What medicines you must take, why, and for how long
- When you need to see your physician
- Any other home care instructions for your caregiver, such as how to get you in and out of bed, how to use and monitor any equipment, and what signs and symptoms to watch out for
- Telephone numbers to call if you or your caregiver has any questions pertaining to your after-hospital care
After your discharge from the hospital, nutrition will remain an integral part of your healing process. Before you leave, a registered dietitian may advise you on the appropriate dietary measures you will need. Based on your physician’s orders, you may also receive written materials to follow during your recovery period at home.
When you leave the hospital, you may need to spend time in a rehabilitation facility, nursing home or other institution; or you may need to schedule tests at an imaging center, have treatments at a cancer center or have home care services. Be sure to speak with your nurse or physician to get all the details and referrals you need before you leave. They can also provide information about local resources, such as agencies that can provide services like transportation and equipment.
Verify your discharge date and time with your nurse or doctor. Routine discharge time is 11am. Be sure someone is available to pick you up.